May 31, 2007

Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards

The Week's Picks and Pans, plus Awards of Dubious Merit

Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups.  Recommendation does
not factor in price.  Not all books will have arrived in your area this week.
Got my new glasses today, smaller frames.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

First Look Comments:

     Books I read over the weekend as First Looks, but didn't buy, so can't
really say much in detail about.  DC has stopped having First Looks, so it's
just Marvel and Image...and there's word that Diamond doesn't want to bother
with the program at all anymore.

     Books for next week - 

     New Warriors #1: Marvel - The indicia doesn't list a volume
if the previous three or four series of this name never happened.  Mind you,
a lot of this is really picking up from the recent New Mutants, focusing on
Sofia.  Promising, though.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Omega Flight #3 (of 5): Marvel - Well, the main threat is revealed,
mostly in a murky and badly lit sequence.  Guardian v3 angsts.  The misfit
parade continues.  Ehn.  Very mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Ms. Marvel #16: Marvel - Somewhat fractured issue, going in a lot of
directions at once.  Some good bits, but no oomph.  Mildly recommended.
     Avengers the Initiative #2: Marvel - Mostly Komodo's issue this time
out, with a little Hardball.  Decent issue, with some interesting
developments, but not really playing to Slott's strengths.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn

     Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home
(as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online).  If I get a
book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): None.

     Countdown #48 (of 0): DC - We're getting OYL'ed again here.  They're
jumping over a bunch of important stuff, and I don't really trust them
anymore to actually fill in the gaps in any meaningful way any time soon.  On
the one hand, I am curious about some of the answers.  On the other hand, 52
proved that they don't really care about providing answers.  Maybe in the
final couple issues we'll get some quick panels expositing on why Black Adam
got his powers back so quickly, or how it is everyone knows Jason Todd is the
Red Hood or...feh.  Dropping this book.  Anything important will be press-
released anyway.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Teen Titans #47: DC - It's nice to see someone using footnotes these
days.  Not so nice that the title's being made the slave of crossovers and
events, though.  This issue, it's all about being the other side of Countdown
#48, and next issue looks like it'll be dominated by Amazons Attack.  Of
course, the fact that Beechen's writing the title now has something to do
with it.  I may end up dropping this pretty soon if it doesn't break away
from the answerless Countdown.  Also, Batista's art is worse than I can
recall seeing from him, ever.  Neutral.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Action Comics #850: DC - Using the Waid LSH as a framing sequence, we
get a series of snapshots of the new and retconned Superman backstory, plus
one supervillain conflict woven into it.  Also has some quick looks at
Superman versions of other Earths, yay new Multiverse.  A decent story.
Recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
     Justice Society of America #6: DC - Speaking of the LSH, lots of Legion
stuff here too, natch.  The 7th Legionnaire is revealed, there's some big
crowd scene fighting, Eaglesham really makes Liberty Belle look like a 40s
heroine, and the whole thing is gonna wrap up in a book I really don't plan
to buy due to its record of sucking.  Sigh.  Mildly recommended...would be
higher, but it's an incomplete story that requires buying a bad book to
finish.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Blue Beetle #15: DC - A fill-in story written by J. Torres and full of
veiled and not-so-veiled sexual innuendo as Jaime finds out how the armor
interacts with Livewire (the one who got brought in out of the STAS
continuity, not Garth Ranzz).  Ending is a little "pat on the head"-ish, but
I suppose there's not too much Torres could do in a fill-in.  Mildly
recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Fall of Cthulhu #3: Boom! Studios - To the extent Mythos has "good
guys", the good guys show up this issue.  Nodens is, IIRC, one of the post-
Lovecraft additions to the Mythos, though, a bit of a wildcard in that
respect.  And also named after an aspect of Mars, although I don't really
know how closely he's supposed to be tied to Mars Nodens, the wargod who
likes dogs.  Anyway, as before, the best part of the issue involves the
Harlot of the Dreamlands, and the rest tends to drag.  Mildly recommended.
     Fallen Angel v2 #16: IDW - Still no #15, though.  Kristian Donaldson
draws this issue and I'm guessing he (she?) also drew last issue.  Style
reminds me a bit of Ken Steacy, maybe a bit of Mark Wheatley influence as
well.  Ragged and rough, on purpose.  The story of "no, it's not really Linda
Danvers" Lin wraps up, and I'm not really sure what its point is in the
overall arc.  It could be a cautionary tale about how the guardian of Bete
Noire can go dark, but it's explicitly pointed out that Lee has already faced
that crisis and passed.  Hm.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Fred Perry's S-Guild #1: Antarctic Press - Finally caught up on missing
AP books.  This one does not read like a one-shot.  Instead, it clearly reads
like the beginning of an epic.  But I'm pretty sure that in the time since
this came out, almost a year, there hasn't been a #2.  A quick googling shows
two things: no #2 to be found, and about half the hits for "Fred Perry's
S-Guild" are me having kept this title in my "missing books" list for most of
a year.  Anyway, this sets up like any other Final Fantasy sort of story, but
while the frontispiece claims that the premise is "what if all the A-lister
heroes in a video game died, and you were left with the B-listers?" there's
really no sign in the actual story that this is the case.  Not that much can
be said from the story in general, the pacing is pretty decompressed with the
expectation of filling in the details later.  Mildly recommended.
     Gold Digger Tangent #2: Antarctic Press - Love the Ayane story.  Found
the first Northern Edge Guard story a bit hard to follow...mind you, the fact
it's been about a year since I read the first half does tend to hurt in that
regard, but the layout in general is iffy in a lot of places.  The second NEG
story was okay, if a bit cliched.  Recommended.  $2.99/$4.05Cn
     DinoWars #3 (of 4): Antarctic Press - Heh.  The U.N. can TOO act quickly
when necessary.  :)  Cute how everyone was trying to pull a fast one on each
other (as usually happens in negotiations) and Debra manages to make sure
that the long run will work out for the best.  Things move a little quickly
after that, and the deus ex machina is a tad convenient.  Recommended.
     DinoWars #4 (of 4): Antarctic Press - The story wraps up with a big
aerial chase and fight before the deus ex machina can be deployed.  The
possibility of resentment over the negotiations in #3 isn't really addressed
in the wake of how super-effective the deus ex machina is, though.
Recommended.  $3.50/$4.05Cn (huh, no rise in Canadian price...typo, or
finally catching up with the exchange rate?) 
     Penny Arcade v4 "Birds Are Weird": Dark Horse - Given how I just spent
over an hour reading this, I don't really have anything to say about it.  :)
It's the strips from 2003, with commentary.  At the end is a bunch of Gabe's
old art, including a no-doubt embarrassing Liefeldian Period (I won't mock
him too heavily for this...I homaged the Robgoblin a few times myself back in
college before coming to my senses).  Recommended.  

     Observation: wow, this week kinda sucked.  The only thing that came out
this week and got better than "mildly recommended" is a collection of stuff
from 2003.  And no Marvel books at all.  And even if the Ark Compendium had
come out, that's essentially old stuff too.
     Skip week.  Sometimes it should just BE skipped, I suppose.

Gone Missing:

     Stuff that came out some places this week and that I wanted to buy, but
couldn't find for whatever reason, so people don't have to email me asking
"Why didn't you review X?"  (If it's neither here nor in the section above,
though, feel free to ask, I might have forgotten about it!) 

     Current list as of 5/31:

     Still missing Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's Panties #7 and #8,
Fallen Angel #15, "You Can Draw Transformers".  Add Transformers Ark


"Wake Me When He Turns Into Gamera" Award to Countdown #48 (of no more being
     bought by me for now, thanks).

"Beechen?  No, Not Even Remotely" Award to Teen Titans #47

"I Really Would Rather Have Seen A Whole Issue About The First Superman
     We Saw" Award to Action Comics #850

"Okay, I Keep Seeing Liberty Belle Meeting Doctor Developer" Award to 
     Justice Society of America #6

"All Superman Villains Know How To Get Caught Without Looking Awkward" Award
     to Blue Beetle #15

"Shades Of The Muppaphone" Award to Fall of Cthulhu #3

"Payment In Kind" Award to Fallen Angel v2 #16

"Vaporware?" Award to Fred Perry's S-Guild #1

"Yes, Everything She Owns DOES Have To Be Black" Award to Gold Digger Tangent

"Vote Like The Wind!" Award to DinoWars #3 (of 4)

"Nnnnn-Rays" Award to DinoWars #4 (of 4)

"The Key To Superhero Design Is Accessorizing" Award to Penny Arcade v4

     Dave Van Domelen, "I don't like it when villains I've never HEARD of
from a time I don't BELONG in use me for purposes no one can figure OUT.
Makes me NUTS." - Val Armorr, Countdown #48.  You and me both, Val.
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